Skaftfell – Center of Visual Art, East Iceland

Eyborg Guðmundsdóttir (1924-1977) and Eygló Harðardóttir (born 1964) are artists from two different generations yet whose work shares common concerns around the description of space and the function of colour.
Eyborg Guðmundsdóttir’s work uses distinctive geometric forms and vibrant colours to suggest confounding spatial paradoxes. Although she had regular studio visits with Dieter Roth, and when she went to Paris studied with the op-artist Victor Vasarely, her paintings transcend these specific influences. They display a continuity with the op-art movement yet also incorporate elements of pop art, in their suggestion of the structures of the modern and physical world. The paintings can appear deceptively simple, yet they often employ ingenious compositional strategies, to create the illusion of three-dimensional space. In relation to this aspect the constructions of Eygló Harðardóttir could be thought of as models of the suggested spaces of such abstract paintings. While Eyborg’s paintings appear as objective and hard edged, the sculptures of Eygló are more speculative and tactile in nature.
For Eygló Harðardóttir there is an attention to the ways in which colour functions and affects the perception of an object. Her choices of material and construction approaches give the objects a particular immediacy. In a sense the work displays something of the notion of bricolgae, that is using materials that are to hand for efficiency of articulation. As such the work can be seen to appear as propositional, as a possible states of existence, rather than an ideal one. In respect to Eyborg’s paintings, these rough forms appear to question the possibility of the former’s objectivism. They seem to suggest that the real world can’t adhere to the idealism of the abstract pictorial plane.
This exhibition presents two bodies of work which engage with the nature of of abstract composition and the ways in which its forms accrue meaning and significance. The work of Eyborg seen in relation to Eygló’s gives a comprehension of the ways in which her concerns are still pertinent to artists working today.

Text by Gavin Morrison a honorary artistic director at Skaftfell 2015-16. Gavin runs a small project gallery in the south of France, IFF, and directs Atopia Projects, a curatorial and publishing initiative, while also working freelance curator and writer.